The Scottish government has launched two programmes offering a total of £7m in funding for business support for social enterprises and other voluntary sector organisations.
The £4m Enterprise Growth Fund will offer grants of between £25,000 and £200,000. It is aimed at securing the long-term future of social enterprises and voluntary sector bodies by developing their organisational structures and income streams.
The £3m Just Enterprise programme will offer a range of business support services for social entrepreneurs and third sector organisations through an "online hub".
A spokeswoman for the government said any voluntary organisation could apply for funding from the two programmes through the Just Enterprise website, which will be launched in August. Further details will be available when the website goes live, she added.
The £300,000 contract to run the Enterprise Growth Fund has been awarded to a consortium – led by the social enterprise the Wise Group – which includes Community Enterprise in Scotland, Developing Strathclyde Limited and Think! Research.
The contract for the Just Enterprise programme – which will include the creation of an online hub, as well as the provision of other business support services – was awarded to a consortium headed by CEiS, which supports community organisations. Ten per cent of the funding for the programme will be provided by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
John Swinney, the secretary for finance and sustainable growth in the Scottish government, said: "These two new programmes will work closely together to make sure that the organisations we fund benefit from appropriate business support.
"This complements the help available from economic development agencies in Scotland such as Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Business Gateway. By investing in the third sector now and enhancing self-sufficiency, we can look forward to a future where these organisations play a full role in public sector reform."